Most gamers in India rarely start their journey with an iPhone. Android is essentially the best place, mostly because of pricing and access to emulators. Apple’s fences go high up when it comes to keeping you away from nefarious activities but its GPU is becoming much more integral to Apple's future than one might think and can potentially motivate more developers to take mobile gaming seriously.
Opinion: Can we talk about the Apple iPhone 15 Pro getting console games?
That’s not a question
The Division Resurgence which I tested in June 2023 was showcased for the iPhone 15 and it’s a proper mobile game with console DNA. Ubisoft has pretty much hit the nail on the head by reimagining The Division franchise for the mobile platform. This game is more likely to take advantage of the Apple iPhone 15 Pro than Capcom’s Resident Evil or Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed Mirage. And that’s because Resurgence is a mobile game first, and Resident Evil 4 and Resident Evil Village are console games first and now, mobile games too. Developers like Sony and EA are already pumping in the extra dough for creating mobile-first games based on their existing IPs. However, Resurgence works flawlessly with the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra that I ran the game on. My interest is what more can Apple do with these console games on its side.
Honestly, nobody other than Apple (and the developers) has the answers to how these games will perform on the Apple iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max. My guess is that it will perform well but the initial years of this is what the industry needs to look past. If Capcom and Ubisoft are on board for bringing their flagship console titles to the Apple iPhone, who else should hop on board? My guess? Everyone with a smart noggin and a business strategy to match.
Apple says that this is the biggest redesign of the GPU in decades. It’s 20% faster in peak performance. 20% faster than what? Only Apple knows. However, this 6-core GPU has mesh shading and other doodahs which should prove to be of value to the folks who just informed us that their biggest triple-A titles are coming to this 6.1-inch display (6.7in if you’re on the Max). There’s also hardware-accelerated Ray Tracing but nothing that will make Xbox, PlayStation or PCs soil their pants. Apple has its own upscaling method as well called MetalFX which means developers need to pump in money to make use of its processing prowess.
The obvious criticism of having such a massive title come to your platform is the tiny screen. The iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max can’t grow any larger than their current size and when you’re playing immersive titles, the iPhone will actually be the worst place to play these games. Surely the developers know this right? I think they do but I have two questions. Will the iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max let me connect to an external (and larger) display via a cable or do I need an Apple AirPlay-supported display? This 10Gbps USB Type-C seems decent for display connectivity. It’s not Thunderbolt speeds like we expected but it will get the job done. My second question is, will these games come to the Apple Silicon MacBooks?
Both these questions pose more problems than I imagine. Apple is very keen on keeping the iPhone experience, an iPhone experience, and sending you to another display which does not have an Apple logo on it is very unlikely by the Cupertino giant. The more I think about it the more it gets bleak. Connecting to an external display via AirPlay doesn’t bring any higher resolution as far as I know. Games will be tailored for the iPhone 15 Pro’s 2556x1179 resolution and 2796x1290 for the iPhone 15 Pro Max. There’s also the iPad which is honestly a better gaming device than most smartphones. It only lacks proper games to take advantage of its capabilities. Diablo Immortal looks sharper and cleaner on my Apple iPad Mini than it does on the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5. The iPad Mini has an A15 Bionic chip which is two years old and the Samsung launched last month!
The announcement of Resident Evil games and others comes as a great surprise, and a rather positive one. Any platform that serves better games is always welcomed in my books. Developers who have their own game engine should find it easier than others to port the game onto mobile devices. Developers running their games on Unity may or may not arrive at all because according to the Game Developer website, Unity is now starting to charge a ‘Runtime Fee’ and there are special percentages levied to devs using the Unity engine based on their subscription tiers and even geographic activity. Unity specifically has an ‘emerging market monthly rate’ for countries like India! You can read more about it here on the Game Developer website.
The fact that Unity sees India as a potential market for mobile gaming is not surprising and bolsters my belief that Resident Evil 4, Resident Evil Village and Assasin’s Creed Mirage are all promotional matters. The best place to play them is outside the 6.1-inch display but if you can play them from a device in your pocket… without the cloud streaming stuff, it is mighty impressive and a testament to how far videogames have come and more importantly, how far smartphones have come in less than two decades!